Catalysts for Change: Healthcare Infection Transmission System (HITS) Consortium

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HITS Consortium

Abstract

The Healthcare Infection Transmission Systems (HITS) Consortium takes a holistic approach to infection prevention, focusing on the 4 major pathogen transmission systems in the healthcare setting: surfaces, person to person, water and air. The HITS 2017 annual conference brings together healthcare management from infection prevention, environmental services, facilities management and engineering along with research scientists and industry experts for the purpose of breaking down silos, identifying barriers and innovative solutions as well as moving collaborative applied research forward.  Register at www.HITSConsortium.org.

Article

The 2020 targets for acute care hospitals call for a 50% reduction in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections and 30% reductions in Clostridium difficile infections from the 2015 national healthcare-associated infection (HAI) rates (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016). In order to reach these goals, hospitals will need to implement a multi-disciplinary approach.  The Healthcare Infection Transmission Systems (HITS) Consortium consists of volunteer experts from academia, industry and not-for-profit organizations that focus on overall “hospital health”. It and was established for the purpose of reducing HAIs using a systems approach — integrating best infection prevention practices that center around the 4 major pathogen transmission systems in the healthcare setting: surfaces, person to person, water and air.

25 world experts and key opinion leaders

The HITS 2017 conference will be held September 13-14th, 2017 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The theme this year is “Catalyst for Change”.  To “renew or change” comes from the Latin word innovates, which is the root word for “innovation”. Innovation can come in the form of a new idea or product, a new implementation process or a new way to apply an established process.  The 2017 HITS Conference agenda features over 25 world experts and key opinion leaders to inspire and guide delegates to be catalysts for change. They will share their knowledge and expertise on innovative approaches that address the problems of infection prevention in healthcare facilities.

Regardless of the proposed change, to be successful it must be implementable, sustainable and effective. Too often, sustainability is the issue – and process improvements cannot be maintained.  The 2017 meeting will be setting the tone for how to effect change with keynote speaker, Dr. Myles Leslie, a Healthcare Sociologist and Institutional Ethnographer from the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary.  His research focuses on understanding and optimizing communications and culture as influences on quality improvement and safety.  Dr. Leslie will speak on using qualitative methods such as ethnography to identify and break down communication barriers and cultural siloes across the spectrum of health system stakeholders.

a one-of-a-kind, MULTIMODAL event

This is a one-of-a-kind, multimodal event where researchers and experts from across disciplines will identify research gaps and discuss how to apply data-driven methods in the field.  The conference agenda includes daily workshop sessions to collectively brainstorm creative solutions to reducing HAI’s using a systems approach. These interactive sessions will allow for collaborative workgroups to develop.  Over the next year, workgroups will articulate research needs, apply for funding, collect preliminary data, and publish the results.  Collectively, these data can be assimilated and used to shape new paradigms.  Workgroup productivity will be encouraged with scheduled report updates followed by news articles and publications of the group accomplishments.  Over time, the HITS Consortium will be able to offer needed funding for research and will continue the conversation by promoting both the results of the annual meeting as well as the subsequent findings by its workgroups in various media and publication outlets such as InfectionControl.tips, podcasts, whitepapers and more.

Attendees of the HITS 2017 Conference will gain a more rounded understanding of the infection control challenges across the 4 main routes of pathogen transmission in healthcare settings. They will participate in shaping the agenda for change moving forward into the next year and have the opportunity to form collaborative groups. To all those who are growing and sustaining the healthcare industry, and would like to be a catalysts of change, register for the HITS 2017 Conference and be a part of the conversation at www.HITSConsortium.org.

References                                                                                              

National Targets and Metrics from US Department of Health and Human Services, 2016. https://health.gov/hcq/prevent-hai-action-plan.asp

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Dr. Christine Greene
Dr. Christine Greene has over 9 years of experience in epidemiological and laboratory research. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences and an MPH in Hospital and Molecular Epidemiology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her academic research focus has been on healthcare pathogen transmission, pathogen environmental survival, and biofilms which has led to multiple publications. At NSF International, Dr. Greene has been making strides to improve public health in the areas of infectious disease prevention and control in clinical and dental settings. Her research focus in on healthcare pathogen transmission, pathogen environmental survival, disinfection, hand hygiene and biofilms. Her work serves to improve the accuracy of environmental mediated infectious disease transmission modelling, strengthens current guidelines to control healthcare-associated infections and provides new insights that will stimulate innovative approaches to reduce the risk of biofilm-related infections, pathogen transmission and curtail the environmental persistence and transmission of infectious agents. Dr. Greene also co-founded the Healthcare Infection Transmission Systems (HITS) Consortium – an organization that strives to break down silos in healthcare using a cross-disciplinary, systems approach to addressing the pressing issues around infection control.

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